My education in economics: Public Goods

Once this resource was provided*, those who failed to pay for it (such as me, drifting through Albuquerque’s Old Town plaza at the end of a long Saturday bike ride) could not be excluded from enjoying its benefits. In addition, my consumption of the resource (sitting in the shade listening to the music) did not, for all practical purposes**, diminish the ability of others to enjoy it on an uncrowded Saturday afternoon:

Public goods, Albuquerque style

Public goods, Albuquerque style

* As I understand it (and don’t consider this “publication quality” information, it’s very second hand), a city of Albuquerque grant funds the musicians’ presence.

** These guys are awesome, so one can imagine that the plaza could grow increasingly crowded in future as my global blog readership is increasingly drawn to Albuquerque on Saturday afternoons, raising questions about the long term nonexcludability of this good. There were only so many seats in the shade.

Public goods definition adapted from Environmental & Natural Resource Economics (8th Edition)


  1. Yes, non-rival and non-excludable. Lots of folks don’t like to talk about what Markets can’t procure, and tend to denigrate such goods. Beware of such people. We’re not looking forward to a La Niña either. I’ll try not to snowshoe too much on your headwaters this year, & maybe that will keep the snow around a bit longer ;o)



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